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Anti-cheat software causing big problems for Windows 10 previews



The preview versions of Windows have a green death screen instead of a blue screen, which makes them easy to see.
Enlarge / The preview versions of Windows have a green death screen instead of a blue screen, which makes them easy to see.

Windows 10 Insider Preview Slow Ring – the beta track intended to receive only versions free of known serious problems – has not been updated for months. While the Quick Ring is currently testing the previews of the April 2019 release, code-named 19H1, and the even faster jump ring in advance does not test the previews not from the October 2019 release , 19H2, but from the 2020 Released on 20H1, the Slow Ring has not yet received a single 19H1 version.

This has sparked fears among insiders about the possibility of forgetting the ring and some complaints from companies using the Windows Insider for Business program to validate new versions of Windows before launching them. Without the Slow Ring builds to test, there is nothing to validate, which means they will have to delay the deployment of 19H1 once it is shipped.

Dona Sarkar of Microsoft, responsible for the Windows Insider program, explained yesterday what the problem was and that it was, in many ways, a step back from the past of Windows, before the Era of DEP, ASLR and PatchGuard, as well as all the other measures implemented by Microsoft to strengthen Windows. Against malware: the build crashes when unspecified common anti-cheat software is used. Sarkar's tweet says the software causes a GSOD, for Green Screen of Death; The traditional and unfortunately familiar Blue Screen of Death, indicating that Windows has suffered a fatal error, is colored green for preview versions so that they can be distinguished at a glance from crashes. stable versions.

Fast ring versions have the same GSOD problem and, in fact, it is listed on the list of known issues for many months.

Sarkar says the fix should come from the third party company that developed the anti-cheat software. Often, when compatibility issues arise, Microsoft modifies Windows or the errant application to ensure that it continues to work, but the anti-cheat drivers are completely different. They operate in kernel mode (hence the GSOD when they fail) and regularly alter elements of the operating system that they are not supposed to tamper with. It is possible that this particular driver will not do anything and only use officially authorized anchor points in the kernel to do his job; it is also very likely that it bothers things that should not be disturbed and damage the data structures or kernel code.

In any case, there seems to be a kind of dead end. Microsoft has not canceled any changes to the original outages, but this has been a problem for months and has a significant impact on the company's Windows 10 test infrastructure. The entire test pipeline is stuck because of this GSOD problem. While the Windows 10 tests already had too many gaps and left too many unresolved bugs, the April 2019 update had a difficult start, and it is not over yet.


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